Coronavirus: UK opts out of EU vaccine development scheme over distribution concerns | Politics News


The UK is to reject an invite to take part in the EU’s coronavirus vaccine programme because of worries over delays getting doses into the country.

Ministers are understood to be concerned about not being allowed a seat on the scheme’s steering group and being excluded from the decision making process.

Whitehall sources suggested the EU could give preferential treatment to member states when it came to vaccine allocation.

, Coronavirus: UK opts out of EU vaccine development scheme over distribution concerns | Politics News
Image:
A chemical technical assistant in a coronavirus testing centre in Munich

The same sources also said the EU initially demanded Britain drop its support for vaccine development in this country, such as the trials currently going on at Oxford university and Imperial College.

But an EU source said on Friday that claim was “not true and misleading”, adding that the EU will “always promote all means that would result in the quick finding and production of a successful vaccine”.

The source also rejected allegations that the UK would be discriminated against, saying doses would be “distributed according to population”.

There has been no official confirmation that the UK is to reject the invite, but government sources have insisted the decision is practical not political.

, Coronavirus: UK opts out of EU vaccine development scheme over distribution concerns | Politics News
Image:
An employee at a laboratory in England, where scientists are trying to develop an oral vaccine for COVID-19

It comes months after the UK missed a deadline to take part in an EU ventilator scheme, after what the government called a “communications mix up”.

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson said the move was “unforgiveable.

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“The crisis does not stop at any national border. It is about time the prime minister started showing leadership, including fully participating in all EU efforts to secure critical medical supplies and a vaccine,” she said.

The prime minister’s deputy spokesman said “work has been taking place to determine whether the UK would take part in this scheme, any participation must be in the interest of the UK”.



Sky News